A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 57 hope of encountering an enemy.... Degtyarenko.. .. The plane.... The boys.... Impelled by a fresh burst of energy, Alexei glanced at the icy side of the crater. "I'll never get out that way," he said to himself. "But I can't lie here and wait for death!" He drew his dirk from its scabbard and began with listless, feeble strokes to hack footholds in the icy side, scraping the frozen sand away with his finger-nails. He scraped until his finger-nails broke and his fingers bled, but he kept hacking away with his dirk with un- relaxing energy. Then, clinging to the dents with his hands and knees, he slowly climbed up the side and at last reached the breastwork. Another effort to lie across the breastwork and roll over and he would be saved, but his feet slipped and down he went, striking his face painfully against the ice. He was severely hurt, but the drone of the aircraft engine still rang in his ears. He climbed up the side again, and again slipped to the bottom. Then, after critically examining the dents he had made he began to deepen them, making the edges of the top ones sharper; and when he had finished he started to climb again, cautiously exerting his failing strength. With enormous difficulty he threw himself across the sandy breastwork and helplessly rolled down to the ground. Then he crawled in the direction in which the aircraft had flown, and from which the sun had risen over the forest, dispelling the snow-devouring mist and caus- ing the ice crust to sparkle like crystal. 13 But he found it extremely hard to crawl. His arms trembled and gave way, unable to bear the weight of his body. Several times his face hit the melting snow. It seemed as though the earth had enormously increased its force of gravity, it was impossible to resist it. Alexei wanted very much to lie down and rest for at least half an hour, but the determination to press on amounted to a frenzy today; and so he crawled and crawled, fell, got up, crawled again, conscious of neither pain nor hunger, seeing nothing, hearing nothing except the sound of artillery and machine-gun fire.